Why ‘dopamine dressing’ is the fashion fix we could all do with this January

For many of us, day-to-day dressing is a balancing act between looking good and feeling comfortable, but how about working your wardrobe in synergy with your body and spirit?

This is where fashion psychology comes in, as freshening up the routine and wearing colorful clothing could help wipe out the January blues.

“Dopamine dressing is one of the latest trends to emerge from the pandemic,” says Shakaila Forbes-Bell, fashion psychologist and founder of the Fashion is Psychology website. “I think it was born from one of the fundamental principles, which is the basis of why we wear certain clothes, and one of the main reasons is to satisfy our emotional needs.”

(John Hylton / PA)

“So when you wear something you love, it looks nice and new, which brings confidence and makes you feel happy – that happiness comes from a specific neurotransmitter in the brain called dopamine that mediates pleasure and happiness,” she explains.

And the psychological benefits of stepping out into something that gives us pleasure are twofold: “So when we wear something that gives us joy, that area is somehow activated; it gives us that rush and that feeling of happiness, so we want to continually try that experience. “

In fact, through his research with Stitch Fix, an online personal styling service, it was found that around a third of us experience that it raises our mood when we wear colorful clothes.

Color has many connections

Dress up for joy with Stitch Fix (Stitch Fix / PA)

But it’s not that simple to say that a specific color can cause a specific type of emotion. “It has a lot to do with associations,” notes Forbes-Bell. “Some of them are general, but some may be very specific to you.”

For example, Stitch Fix found that people associate the color yellow with optimism, sunshine, brightness and these things bring happiness and joy, while 30% said that the color blue makes them feel calm.

The study also found that red is associated with the feeling of energy. “We can say that we associate red with things like love, like lust and that kind of objects like bright red hearts,” he continues. “So we basically feel certain emotions when we wear certain colors, because we generally associate specific colors with specific things.”

Dress up for joy with Stitch Fix (Stich Fix / PA)

And that’s how color psychology works when it comes to dressing with dopamine: “It’s thinking about the general associations you have, but also about personal associations,” says Forbes-Bell.

Fashion accelerates to feel happier

To understand how to dress to improve your mood, this is where personal styling services like Stitch Fix come into play. You can partner with one of their expert stylists to help them work through your personal associations.

“For example, I associate purple with joy, achievement, success because I have my own personal associations with purple,” explains Forbes-Bell.

“It might remind me of a family member or a particular moment in my life. You can enter it into the system and work with your expert stylist to help you get more of that color into your wardrobe. “

Depending on your favorite style and budget, you can customize the change to suit your mood, meaning you feel more confident, happier, more sparkling, and want to experiment more with colors.

“You put that into your style profile and then you automatically get that kind of clothes and colors that are sent to you, so it’s an easy way to inject that kind of mood-enhancing colors into your wardrobe.”

Inspire confidence with color by association

Of course, not everyone is comfortable wearing bright colors, especially if your middle name is monochromatic. “I feel an easy way to overcome people’s fear of color is to recognize the things you associate with specific colors,” suggests Forbes-Bell.

Dress up for joy with Stitch Fix (Stitch Fix / PA)

“If you associate pink with playfulness or yellow with optimism, as the survey found, once you recognize these positive associations with these colors, you can get over that hump of saying, ‘Oh, well, I don’t want one. [of that kind of clothing]. I don’t want to be too bright. I don’t want to be out there too much. ‘”

Indeed, digging a little deeper: “Like mine with purple, this one will give a little more encouragement and motivation to embody those feelings and a push to wear them into your daily life, rather than being bound by the confines of i blacks, beiges and grays “.

Have fun with wellness accessories

An easy way to elevate a single neutral color is with eye-catching accessories and nothing screams self-expression like on-trend jewelry or a bright tote bag. Forbes-Bell thinks it’s an easy way to get started, have more fun, and be more creative when you might be afraid to really embrace color.

“You know, it can really turn a minimalist outfit into something a little more unique and special for you.

“Say you don’t want to wear all red, a red bag or accessory, a touch of purple here, a touch of orange there, which can go a long way in helping you embody the positive traits you associate with those colors.”

Get the most out of work from home and experiment

“I think as much as people really embrace the comfort and psychological benefits that come with comfortable clothing, it seems to me that people are experiencing the weariness of loungewear, when you are simply mired in the same grays.

“You’re not bound by the boundaries of an office dress code, right, and I think if people recognize that you can experience such a push from novelty in general.

“So wearing something new, dressing out of the ordinary in extravagant clothes, can help you separate yourself from the kind of boring, monotonous everyday routine that many of us have fallen into while working from home.”

“Experimenting more, even if it’s a loungewear outfit, it doesn’t have to be gray, it could be pink, it could be blue, it could be something more expressive.

“I think it will help people truly experience both joy and comfort and yes, it will really help them change their daily routine by simply changing their clothes.”

As Forbes-Bell puts it: “It’s really about how you feel and using your clothes to improve your mood. And then everything that comes out of it is a bonus. “

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